Reflections of Gratitude

Ever stopped to notice the amazing things that happen, and to really appreciate them?
Examples:

  • I arrived at the manicured and decorated farmyard about an hour prior to the wedding ceremony. As a Marriage Commissioner in Alberta, I like to be early and to help with any last minute details. The bride’s parents were fretting. The chairs with white cloth covers were in place, elaborate flower arrangements placed perfectly, sound system ready and tested, and all seemed in order. But, the weather looked ominous. As guests arrived and the moments ticked by, the sky became blacker and blacker as storm clouds billowed closer, thunder rolled and lightening cracked. The groom said, “We’ll do it anyway.” With less than ten minutes to the ceremony, the clouds parted and the sun shone brilliantly onto the scene. Amazing!!
  • At another wedding near Whitecourt, the ceremony was outside a community hall in the countryside. The airport was nearby and it happened to be the same weekend as their annual airshow. The ceremony was delayed by about 15 minutes as guests sweltered in the heat of the radiant sun. The guests may have been whining about the delay, but it was worth it. Just as we completed the legalities, the famous Canadian Forces Snowbirds flew over in tight formation directly above us. What a wedding gift. Amazing!!
  • As I made coffee yesterday morning, I glanced out the windows to the east, where the sky was just beginning to east-sky-sep-14lighten. The clouds exploded into an array of brilliant pastel pinks and reds and blues. I grabbed the camera but too late.  I caught a piece of it – it only lasted a few seconds. Amazing!!
  • We drove into our yard late in the evening, with guests following in their own vehicle. These young Torontonian gentlemen were bluegrass musicians who had performed at Connections Coffee House, Carol’s restaurant in Sangudo. As we stood in the yard, they remarked at the intense darkness and quiet of our location in the country. We have no yard-lights and you can’t see a neighbour’s place – it is dark! All of a sudden, the northern sky filled with blue and green jumping streaks of Aurora Borealis, the Northern Lights. The light show lasted about ten minutes and then was gone. Amazing!!

Yes, these bigger, bolder, more unusual events are easily recognized. Are they worth celebrating? I think so.

What about the smaller, regular, more ordinary situations and occurrences that happen on a daily basis? Don’t they deserve the same gratitude and celebration?

Examples:

  • I woke up this morning and took a deep breath of clean, fresh air. Amazing!!
  • I looked across the bed at my best friend, partner and lover, Carol. Amazing!!
  • I jumped out of bed on nimble legs. Amazing!!
  • I drank a big glass of clean, fresh water, pumped from an aquifer 80 meters below me. Amazing!!
  • Our home is clean, warm and safe. Amazing!!
  • We are surrounded by loving family, friends and a creative community of incredible people. Amazing!!
  • I get to choose how I feel each moment. Amazing!!

For me, I must continue to remind myself to be conscious and aware of what is around me. It can be too easy to pass through the days on autopilot, as if in a trance, missing the wonders that surround me. I have so much for which to be grateful and to celebrate.

What about you? Do you ever drive to a particular destination and then stop and wonder how you got there, as if you missed the trip?

Here are a couple hints for greater awareness and gratitude.

  1. Many years ago, a good friend of mine, Nancy Kindler, explained a brilliant tool she used. She called it a GAS chart. Each evening she would take a few moments when she went to bed to think about, and write some things in three columns on her GAS chart. The first column, the G was where she listed events and situations of the day for which she was grateful. In the second column, the A, she listed the names of people with whom she had connected that day and the specific behaviour or trait that she appreciated. In the third column, the S, she listed her personal successes for the day.
  2. Some of the couples we coach decide to increase their level of gratitude by committing to focused time together. To do this, they decide to eat their evening meal together, either as a couple, or as a family if they have kids. This is time together, without TV, radio, or cell phones. If phones ring, they allow the technology to do its work by taking a message. This uninterrupted time together is a celebration for them – a feast.
  3. Often these couples decide to initiate a new habit or ritual to their evening meal together. Each person at the table is asked to share the best part of their day. The effect of this is that each person begins to go through their day looking for something special to report. That is definitely a conscious increase of awareness.

What if … what if?

What if you and I were to use one or all of these activities, to become more consciously aware of the many wonders of our lives? What might the results be in how you and I think, speak, act and feel?

To heck with pondering it. I’m going to do it now.

What about you?

 

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